I was taken advantage of -over and over again- at points in my life that I needed to be supported and protected. Started with age three until eight, I’m raped and molested. Funny thing, PTSD. It does a great job at hiding the screams of the innocent child, stuffed inside the adult. I grew up, but screaming child frozen in that moment. Occasionally, it surfaces from hidden depths. Brings forth fierce shock waves throughout my body. Pain. Numbness. Noises, sounds, smells, from another time and place.
Blurred vision, overwhelming sensations, then I’m gone.
Back again, people blankly stared at me..
Are they unsure of what I will say or what they should say?
Do they guard themselves for fear of me?
What did I say or do?
I can’t remember…
Before anyone can speak, I grab my things and dash. Running away from questions maybe asked. Questions I’ve no answer for.
Sound scary? It was as a child. After a while, I realized I did nothing out of the ordinary, even though I didn’t remember what exactly I did. No one ever said anything. No police, never in a hospital. I just kept playing with my toys, escaping time some how. I didn’t have to deal with the day, the day was gone. I tried not to think about it.
Until something did happen. I ran from my house late at night escaping violence from older brothers. Hiding in an alley close by thinking, “Big trouble for them, I won’t be there when mom and dad get home!” Before I knew it I was miles away from home, at a familiar place to me at that age, Washington Park. I walked back home. Police there. Hysterical, I couldn’t remember much. Not wanting it known I walked so far and couldn’t remember why, said I was at a park closer.
Into teen years I found things I did not remember writing. Then had flashbacks of things I don’t recall doing. I began searching for explanations of the most extreme. Seeking magic, spirituality, philosophy, physiology…Something must explain why it felt as missing half my life. Why at times flashbacks of memories? Why other times no memories at all?
Soon it’s not memories I could brush off as fantasy, dreaming. Now people before me talking about things, becomes more real. Smiling and nodding along, as they reminisce of a hilarious account I was supposedly a part of.
Why this? I tried to think back. I realized it had been happening a while. I realized when I tried to think about certain things, I also get a headache. I could not explain it. Fear and pain caused me wandering, feeling numb, as horrors flash before my mind. I cannot turn them off.
I remember standing there….
Then I remember the water…
I remember the bridge….
Eyes close, I’m floating…
My eyes open, the world is sideways. I blink, it shifts. Now felt the sensation of hitting the ground. There was this overwhelming influx of emotions with memories slowly incapacitating me. I fainted. I thought I jumped.
I heard someone…
No one is there. I didn’t “hear it.” I thought it. Well it’s in my mind, not my thought. How, you say? I really don’t know. I got up. My boyfriend eventually found walking. Home in my room I found notes written in several different styles than my own. My journal, not my words. It was a message to me from someone else…names I did not know.
In my mind she calls: “Hello, Doll…”
I ignored it. I saw my reflection. Time and space distorted. Nothing real. The reflection became a person before me. She smiles. I see we are not in my room now. We are…somewhere else? She opens her mouth to speak.
Someone calls my name. This time, I really HEARD it. I blink. I am back in my room. Mom’s looking for me.
Like extreme daydreaming, but was out of my control. Something triggers a switch. I lost control. Sometimes, felt as if suddenly thrown to the back of my mind, as I only see through the likes of a tiny keyhole in a dark room. I hear myself talk but no control.
I blink. I’m back in control. I’m with family. I apparently said something, making people uncomfortable again. They shake their heads. I look down in shame confused.
This all my youth. Confused with one moment knowing things, but can’t remember the next. No one understands. Most days I wished for somewhere to hide, never felt safe. Wanting someone to care for me. I knew parents can’t forever. Landed me in a few hopeless relationships with men abusive. I just wanted a family, chose easiest first place to go. That’s how ended up where I did. Followed the easiest way once something had pointed me in some direction…Usually I don’t remember how I ended up in that direction. Yet there I am, walking that path, so must keep walking. Couldn’t leave bad situations.
Most people can’t understand what it’s like to have emotions incapacitated. Without emotions to guide you, and when you feel disconnected from control of your body, like dream paralysis, you can only move toward where directed. Unable to evaluate the situation because you’re emotionless.
This is how PTSD goes unnoticed and undiagnosed for years. Because the people just live like robots, ashamed, wondering why they can’t focus on where they are going. Everyone thinks it’s something you can control. You need focus, or pills to make you focus, or need more sleep, or new diet. Everyone’s a doctor.
When you cannot put into words what you are experiencing, and when you in all your life never knew feeling any other way…..You not only can’t know how to ask for help, but also don’t know that you SHOULD. Unknown brain injury. Hidden with shame. People fear me without cause. Worst that happens is I wander, I faint, suffering amnesia. People never believe you…
My name is Jess, I’m a 33 year old divorced college student wishing to be an interpreter for the Deaf. Many people didn’t think I’d make it this far. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and multiple types of Dissociative Disorders. Most issues not diagnosed until mid 20’s after admitted myself into a psychiatric hospital. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, narcissist abuse, and losing legal rights to my child by manipulation. I am a survivor of it all. I am just beginning my journey sharing my story. Speaking out about my own suffering to inform the world of a darkness often hidden. When we stay silent, we let this continue. The more people who are aware, the more the world will know how to deal with it. I wish to stop the stigma on the survivors of abuse and trauma. To let trauma heal in a world more empathetic to sufferers. To put the focus of fear and shame where it belongs: the abusers, not the abused.
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